Kat Dennings, whose real name is actually Katherine Victoria Litwack, was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania on June 13, 1986. The beauty was bitten by the acting bug at a young age and started her career by appearing in commercials and making cameos on both the small and big screens.
Dennings has appeared in everything from ER in 1994, to The 40-Year-Old Virgin in 2005. But it was her leading role in 2008’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist that really put her on the map. Then, in 2011, came her big break when she scored the role of Max Black on CBS’s 2 Broke Girls and instantly made TV viewers fall in love with her strong, funny and totally relatable character.
As her career continues to bloom, here are some super surprising facts all Kat Dennings fans need to know.
Kat Dennings was home-schooled
Instead of attending a traditional school, Kat Dennings was home-schooled by her parents and completed her high school curriculum when she was just 14 years old. Although she has called the experience "good," the actress has also admitted that, when she began nearing the end of her studies, she "just couldn’t deal with being in the tiny room with my parents anymore."
How did she resolve that situation? "I took charge of my education [and] it worked great. I don’t think I could have dealt with traditional school, just the way my brain is wired," she admitted. Her decision obviously paid off, as the young Dennings flew through her schoolwork and graduated much sooner than many of her peers.
Asked by Complex in 2011 if she thinks she bypassed the social side of school, she said, "I think there’s an element of that, but nothing I missed. Nothing that hurt me."
Kat Dennings’ parents disapproved of her acting dreams
When Kat Dennings first decided that she wanted to pursue an acting career, her parents were less than thrilled with the idea. Even Dennings herself joked that acting "is the worst idea ever!" Since her success, however, they’ve come to embrace her decision.
"Now they are over the moon!" she told Glamour in 2012. "I was one of those kids where I clearly wasn’t going to be in school much longer, you know what I mean? I’m not a kid who can learn that way. I was a very unique child. I think they knew I belonged in the arts."
Dennings went on to share where she may have gotten her own artistic talents: her parents. "My dad is a biochemist, but he actually wanted to be a painter when he was younger, so he had it in his blood. And my mom is a poet, so they all had their own secret art."
Kat Dennings made her TV debut on Sex and the City
It was 2000 when Kat Dennings — just a teenager trying to make it big in the industry — had her small screen debut on the hottest show on television, Sex and the City. The role was a small one, and you may not even remember it, but it was huge for Dennings. And looking back on it now, it was quite the epic on-camera moment.
The budding young star played 13-year-old Jenny Brier on an episode titled "Hot Child in the City" in which she hired Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) to plan her bat mitzvah. Following her interaction with Samantha, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), Denning’s character left the women questioning their youth and wondering if the teens were trying to imitate them, or if, in fact, they were the ones trying to imitate the teens.
Kat Dennings wasn’t allowed to watch TV as a child
Since she was raised in what sounds like an eccentric, artistic household, it should come as no surprise to learn that Kat Dennings was not allowed to watch TV as a child. In an interview with The New York Times, ironically promoting her TV sitcom role in 2 Broke Girls, Dennings said she was, however, allowed to watch old movie musicals like Top Hat, a 1935 picture starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. She was also able to listen to her parents’ old stand-up comedy records, like Steve Martin’s Let’s Get Small, which she partially memorized and performed for them at just 3 years old. "I saw the reaction it got, and I was hooked," she told The Times.
Speaking at the Television Critics Press Tour (via The TV Addict), Dennings said that her family actually "had to get cable" just so they could watch her TV debut on Sex and the City. "So all my little homeschool friends and their moms saw Kyle MacLachlan’s a**. It was pretty incredible," she joked.
Kat Dennings is alcohol and drug-free
Unlike many young celebrities who embrace the party lifestyle that’s so prominent in Hollywood, Kat Dennings has chosen to stay far away from drugs and alcohol. "I’m an idiot already, so I don’t need any enhancement," she explained in an interview with Complex. "I don’t feel like I’m the kind of person who can deal with some kind of foreign stimulant. I don’t need an excuse to act a certain way. Some people use that to show their true feelings, whereas I do that all the time."
Not only does she not take part in the behavior herself, but she also steers clear of those who do. "To this day, I still don’t like being around drunk people," Dennings told Glamour. "It’s like seeing someone jump out of a plane without a parachute. There’s a lot of pressure in this town."
Having said that, the starlet went on to admit that yes, she does have the occasional drink with friends, following a European trip that changed her outlook on wine. While overseas, Dennings indulged in some wine, admitting, "Now I get it when they say wine goes with the food, and it’s a whole experience, so I’m not opposed to wine now and then, because Europe changed that, but I don’t like to drink and get drunk."
Kat Dennings started a knitting club with UFC’s Ronda Rousey
Of all the hobbies an A-list star like Kat Dennings could decide to take up, knitting is likely not the first one that comes to mind. But that’s exactly what she loves doing in her downtime, and she’s got quite the unlikely partner in crime — umm, I mean, knitting.
During an appearance on Ellen, Dennings revealed that she and UFC champion Ronda Rousey have started a knitting club and they’ve dubbed it "The Yarn and the Restless." (Brilliant.) "We just knit a scarf and get drunk," said Dennings, going against her usually strong stance against alcohol. That’s not all the gal pals do, though. They also make plenty of "friend memories" while letting their inner designers shine.
Kat Dennings learned to decorate cupcakes for 2 Broke Girls
On 2 Broke Girls, Kat Dennings played Max Black, a waitress with secret dreams of starting a cupcake empire. Although Dennings didn’t make the cupcakes that appear on the show herself — there’s "an amazing girl named Amber who bakes the cupcakes" — she did frost them live on camera "in real time." "Anytime you see me piping a cupcake, I’m doing it," she revealed in 2012. "Amber taught me! But they are amazing! From time to time, when my blood-sugar feels low, I’ll just take a swipe of icing."
Kat Dennings and Drake could have been a thing
Though Kat Dennings has been romantically linked to singer Josh Groban and actor Nick Zano in the past, there was a time when she and Canadian rapper Drake could have been an item. That’s right, Drizzy once made his obsession with Dennings clear via a late night tweet back in 2011. "Kat Dennings I just woke up out of bed to let you know you were a dime on Conan tonight. XO," the "Hotline Bling" rapper tweeted. That same year, he told Elle that he was "in love" with her and that he was going to invite her to his Vegas birthday party. Sadly, Complex reports that Dennings told Chelsea Handler that she and Champagne Papi are just friends despite her description of him as "super, super nice." She added, "He’s a lovely person. He’s a nice man." Sorry, DraKat dreamers, it just wasn’t meant to be.
Kat Dennings is a super talented screenwriter
In addition to acting, Kat Dennings is also a talented scriptwriter, as she proved with Your Dreams Suck, a script she co-wrote with her brother, Geoffrey Litwack, which landed on the 2008 Black List of "The Hottest Unproduced Screenplays of 2008."
"I don’t really talk that much about it, but I write, and directing is on the horizon one day," she told Movieline. What’s going to happen with that script? "The process of getting a movie made is so ridiculous so it’s still in the pipeline. We have amazing producers and we’re giving it to people to read right now." And in case you’re wondering, no, she never planned on acting in it.
Kat Dennings used to blog a lot
Kat Dennings used to blog (and vlog) pretty frequently on her eponymous URL, katdennings.com. Her glorious archive lives on, though her last blog entry is dated February 10, 2010 when she presumably gave in to the dark side and made the permanent leap to social media, considering her Twitter page had already been active for just under a year by that point.
Dennings’ blog was a quirky blend of musings, stories, artwork, and other brain droppings. She endlessly described herself in entries as "weird" and "crazy," and in one post in particular, laid out what could be described as a mission statement. "As you are undoubtedly aware from reading this endless omnibus of redonkulousness, I am kind of a weirdo. I write like someone who’s been trapped in a well for 9 years with a radioactive bathtub and/or Doctor Who. And if you’ve seen me speak candidly in some type of nonfiction interview, you might gather that I also talk that way," she wrote. The post was intended to address the fact that people often misconstrue her eccentricity for being high, but it also showcased the fact that beyond her acting abilities, Dennings is simply a creative force.
Kat Dennings used to be goth
Kat Dennings has made several references to being "goth" when she was a kid. During a memorable Conan interview, she told him that, for a time, she actually believed that she was Wednesday Addams and even went so far to introduce herself as the character to strangers. Dennings has also shared photographic evidence of her goth years on Instagram, like this post from 2015 where she’s dressed in all black, and sporting some heavy black eye makeup and lipstick. "Happy World Goth Day from 13 year old KD (Kid Darkness)," the caption read.
Then there was this Instagram post from 2014 which featured an 8-year-old Dennings’ writing that read, "I’m Bord! Bord Bord Bord Bord Bord Bord Bord!!!! I’m so Bord! Im Bord to Death! Take me now Lord." Yikes. That was one dour little child. Thankfully, Kid Darkness was just a phase.
Kat Dennings is BFFs with Natalie Portman
Kat Dennings first met Natalie Portman "on the set of [her] friend’s music video." Dennings showed up to support one of her best friends, Devendra Banhart, who was shooting his single, "Carmensita," and that’s when she met the Oscar-winning actress.
The two met again on the set of Thor in 2011 and their time on set together doubled as the ultimate BFF hangout. "Natalie and I just never stop talking. Never stop talking." Because of this, their costar Stellan Skarsgård was privy to a LOT of girl talk. As Dennings recalled, "We’d be talking about boys or something and we’d turn around, and Stellan is just napping in the back seat. Poor guy, with two ridiculous young girls talking about silly things!"
2 Broke Girls was written specifically for Kat Dennings
2 Broke Girls was co-created by comedian Whitney Cummings and Michael Patrick King, the man who also gave Kat Dennings her TV start on Sex and the City. Speaking with GQ, King revealed that Dennings’ character on the show was "pretty much molded" for her. "I don’t think there’s anybody else like her so we basically hunted her down for this," King told the magazine, adding, "She has a kind of amazing outsider edge. It made everything else fall into place." King also told The New York Times, "There’s nothing manufactured about her, and that comes through on-screen. People are responding to her because it feels like an individual has wandered into their living room."
Though she was chosen for the role based on her natural edginess, Dennings credits the inspiration for her character with her mom and her brother. When asked by Deadline about her "deadpan cadence," Dennings said, "That’s really interesting — I’ve never thought much about that. I guess it’s just how I am. But I know for a fact my older brother Geoffrey is also very much like that. And I worshipped him as a kid, so I give him a little credit." But she also said, "I kind of ended up imitating my mother because she was a poor girl from Queens who was cool and tough."
Kat Dennings wasn’t mad about the 2 Broke Girls cancelation
After six successful seasons, CBS decided to pull the plug on 2 Broke Girls in May 2017. Speaking with Deadline, Kelly Kahl, CBS’ head of scheduling, broke the news, saying that "2 Broke Girls was a really good show for us for a very long time [but] our comedy development this year was very good and whenever your comedy development is really good, it puts a lot of pressure on some of your older shows. We felt creatively it was time and we had to create some space on the schedule to get some new product on."
Rather than being upset or bitter, Kat Dennings took the news in stride like a true professional, turning to Twitter to share a sweet message with fans of the show on behalf of herself and costar Beth Behrs. "We’ve had a wonderful 6 seasons as Max and Caroline and we thank all of your for watching and enjoying it along with us," she wrote. "We are so proud of our time on 2 Broke Girls and all of the things this experience has given us, the most treasured is our lifelong friendship."
Kat Dennings got real about going gray on Instagram
The pressure to look perfect in Hollywood is undeniable, but Kat Dennings has never been one to play by the rules. Something she proved when she took to Instagram in May 2017 to share a candid snap with her 2.5 million followers that showed off a few gray hairs. Rather than trying to cover it up with color, Dennings proudly uploaded a closeup snap of her roots, writing, "THAR SHE BLOWS. #Glamdalf."
Fans quickly took notice and praised her boldness in a series of seriously sweet comments. Some even took the opportunity to share their own experiences with graying hair. "I’m 24 and have them also! They are beautiful," wrote @mrs.erandysanchez while @rarest.aurora posted, "I’m not the only brunette with a touch of grey! Wooo! Duh. But seeing someone as gorgeous/talented as you with the same thing makes me feel better." If you needed proof that Dennings is one of the most relatable actresses in the business, now you have it!
Kat Dennings is not afraid to be unapologetically political
Following the racial clashes and riots that were sparked by a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, leaving one woman dead and over 30 people injured, Kat Dennings refused to remain quiet.
Taking to Twitter, she wrote, "I threw up after reading the news and it was NOT the donuts I ate." The actress went on to retweet a series of messages posted by journalists across the social media platform and concluded with a simple four-word tweet that read, "SIMPLY what the f**k," which got over 4K likes and 800 retweets in 24 hours.
Kat Dennings is self-conscious about her driving
Usually, when stars (or anyone, for that matter) are asked what they would change about themselves, their answer comes in the form of something related to beauty. Not so with Kat Dennings. Put on the spot and forced to choose one thing she would change about herself, the actress started in with a text book response, "I’m still young and I’m hoping to learn as I grow," before revealing that it’s her actions behind the wheel that leave her feeling self-conscious.
"I wish I was a less anxious driver," she admitted. "L.A.’s a stressful place to drive, and I tend to seize up when I drive. I get very nervous when someone goes in front of me. I’m working on that. I’m getting better at it."
What’s next for Kat Dennings?
Since debuting 2 Broke Girls in 2011, Kat Dennings has gained many fans whom she will no doubt keep, as she continues on, in her career. No doubt, fans are anxiously waiting to see if Dennings embraces more writing and directing. Whatever she chooses to do, the future will undoubtedly be bright for this young starlet.